Like any external concrete elements of your home, it's possible for the concrete balustrades on your balcony to be affected by the elements. If left unchecked, a moisture damaged balustrade might even collapse, causing significant damage to your balcony and effectively rendering it unusable until the necessary repairs have been performed. So what can actually cause an individual concrete balustrade to take on moisture and become compromised? And how can you spot the problem before it becomes critical?
Sunshine and general exposure to the elements can discolour painted concrete balustrades over time, and yet a single balustrade that has taken on a noticeably different colour to its counterparts can indicate moisture ingress. This is when a small crack or hole in the balustrade has created an entry point, allowing the concrete to absorb moisture. Cracked and peeling paint on an individual balustrade can also be an indicator of internal moisture damage.
A Slow Process
This will be a slow and steady process, as it's not as though the balustrade is permanently in standing water. Rain and any water runoff from your roof onto the balcony will be the key culprits when a balustrade is affected by moisture ingress.
The Entry Point for Moisture
The entry point might be difficult to spot when the crack or hole is on the outward facing surface of the balustrade, which is why discolouration or cracked and peeling paint might be the first visible indication of a problem.
The balustrade will need to be professionally assessed. If it becomes sufficiently destabilised, there is the risk that it might collapse, taking a significant portion of the balcony's handrail with it. While this makes your balcony unsafe, it can also pose a risk to any property that might be directly beneath the balcony.
In some instances, the balustrade will simply need to be replaced as concrete moisture ingress is difficult to correct. When a replacement is recommended, ensure that your chosen contractor is able to replicate the missing balustrade, either from a component that is already available or one that can be fabricated. It will probably be necessary for all balustrades on the balcony to be repainted in order to ensure uniformity of colour. Though such degradation of an individual balustrade is a slow process, the application of a sealant (with periodic reapplications) can prevent the issue from happening again.
It's not as though an individual balustrade affected by moisture ingress will repair itself, so if you should spot any of the warning signs, it's important to take the necessary action to stop the damage from becoming critical.Share